It’s officially fall – the kids are back in school, pools are closing, the days are getting cooler, and we need to start thinking about colds, the flu, and COVID-19. It’s important to all of us that we protect ourselves and our loved ones from getting sick. One of the best ways to do this is by staying up to date on vaccines and following best practices when in close contact with others. The new vaccines for COVID-19 and the flu are now available nationwide, and it is safe to get both at once (and it will save you time!).
Below is the latest information on COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, and ways to stay healthy this fall.
Get the New COVID-19 Vaccines
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved and authorized new COVID-19 vaccines to help protect everyone from the latest variant (XBB.1.5). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends anyone six months and older—including people with Spina Bifida—should get the vaccine.
To find a COVID-19 vaccine near you, click here.
There are three different options: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Novavax. It is okay to mix and match the different brands since they are all safe and effective, and none of them contain latex or eggs. They are available throughout the United States, and are free for most people with private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid. If you do not have insurance, you can still receive one for free through the federal Bridge Access Program.
To protect yourself from COVID-19 this fall, you can get the new vaccine as soon as possible. If you have had COVID-19 recently, then it is best to wait up to three months since your body will already have immunity from the infection.
Avoid Getting the Flu This Season
Each year, millions of people around the United States get the flu (influenza), which can cause a fever, cough, body aches, and even hospitalization. Flu season typically starts in October, and it ramps up from December to February.
To help avoid getting the flu this season, make sure you get the latest vaccine as soon as possible. It takes about two weeks to become effective, so getting the vaccine in September or October will give your immune system time to develop antigens to protect itself.
To find a flu vaccine near you, click here.
We recommend anyone six months and older—including people with Spina Bifida—should get one. They are available as a regular vaccine, a latex-free nasal spray (for ages 2-49), as well as an egg-free option.
Best Practices when Socializing This Fall
Whether your kids are back in school, you’re hosting a Halloween party with friends, or you’re admiring the foliage with family, it’s important to follow these simple best practices to stay healthy and protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 and the flu this fall:
- Wash your hands often (or use hand sanitizer), and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Stay hydrated
- Always get plenty of sleep
- Maintain a healthy diet
- If you’re feeling sick, stay away from others and/or wear a mask to help protect your community
Watch the below video for more information on vaccine recommendations for people with Spina Bifida and how to return to school safely.
If you have any questions or concerns, please speak with your healthcare provider.